The Charlotte News

Thursday, February 9, 1939


Site Ed. Note: Regression away from the heartening story of January 5, "Rescue in Georgia", is the theme of "Not All The Way", nevertheless drawing limited solace from the fact that the two individuals accused of beating up the mayor of Goldsboro, N.C. were not lynched in the end.

Yet, is it not so that lawless indignity of this type sometimes may deprive a person--especially when accomplished with toleration or encouragement by some idiots daring to call themselves "law enforcement officers", in fact the worst of the thugs for the protective veil of their badges and impunity provided the mob or pair or one of the lawless--of the sanctity of which any citizen of these shores ought have always, equal protection of the law, may be as harmful therefore psychologically as if a principal part of their psyche, something called dignity, had been brutally and incomprehensibly lynched on the tree of hate and strange fruit anyway, even if their bodies were only temporarily distressed and not finally killed.

Which leads us to question why any damnable fool or fools would go about burning churches, as being presently done in Alabama?

In the old days, not so long ago really, within the lives of many of us, these things happened, Robert Chambliss and his gang of desperate fools in search of an identity being the point apogean of such a tide in the South of the sixties, mirrored in today's fiery activities.

The psychologists say that the arsonist achieves perverse pleasure from such business, displacing urges otherwise somehow unnaturally suppressed while not finding tonic in forms which are creative rather than destructive in their nature.

In the old days, these creatures of the night were members of that hooded order.

Today's creatures are of an order we cannot yet tell, but appearing probably likewise as each of the targeted churches are either African-American or integrated.

What is it that these misguided miscreants of the night are trying to say to anyone of sensibility?

That they subscribe to a religion of pure-white purity, no niggers allowed, no black bastard niggers?

Is that it?

Well, if so, we would have to reply that, after all, it is said by many religious scholars, in more polite language than we will use, that Jesus was in fact a nigger, that is to say of Ethiopian descent, and raised as a Jew.

And, indeed, in the Roman rule of his time under Augustus, he was not treated differently than Alabama's lesser lights used to treat wholesale its niggers. Was he?

He was nailed to a cross and left there to die, impaled by the feet and hands, bleeding, starving, thirsting, dying.

But did he? Did he die there, this nigger on the cross, who was lynched by the Romans and moneychanging Pharisees?

Most Christian folk say not, that he arose in three days and ascended, with promise to return. And to those with faith, one might say, that he does, individually, in that sense, return, whether corporeally to do so, or ever intended as such, no one may truly say for sure.

Perhaps, these scoundrels of the night who probably think themselves Crusaders for some messiah somewhere about which they heard, but never really read, at least not with any discernment, should think of that nigger on the cross, when next they try to convince themselves that burning a place of worship is somehow smart or wise or motivated by anything but that which is dark and sick and hateful, maybe a darkness or a hate generated by a lousy parent or two who didn't teach, but, only with a strap or switch or the point of a hunting rifle or such instruments of terror in the night, sought to instill something which they had instilled likewise, something sucked from a bottle's dregs into their minds, ruefully causing this terror to be transmitted like a virus to their brooded young.

Maybe that. Maybe something else.

Maybe the death of a great civil rights leader's widow this past week, a widow who, like other prominent widows of the same time, carried herself with dignity, uncompromised by hatred, for the rest of her days, preaching care and compassion and understanding, despite being placed in such status at a relatively young age by the actuation of a nightmare of another not understanding their own child-aching cold sweat in the night, manifested then later in reality, someone with a spark who by it could only understand and transmit, from their lack of understanding of themselves and their past, their identity, the destruction of the dreams of others as a means to some unfathomable end, a torture within themselves.

Maybe that, too.

Who knows but they, who must dig deep within their own plots, into the mirror of time, and grasp that thing, dare they do it with any light of courage and discernment left in them, which has impelled them to strike this match against places of worship. Quiet worship on a Sunday morning, where little babies are Baptized and given dreams to pursue by loving parents and community, where little boys and girls go to be sleepy-eyed, maybe, nevertheless hearing things, perhaps things they don't fully understand but yet will nevertheless come back to them later to teach and breathe wisdom where otherwise there might be bitterness or hate or even violence at the stroke of midnight in their lives, a midnight which all reach sooner or later and which, though seeming to be the end of day, nevertheless may, if seen that way, become the beginning of another, yet one with more wisdom, one where the pigment of a person's skin is not of any consequence to the perception of their humanity as being one with yours, on some level, on many levels.

They who do this act with a match of flint and spark against wisdom, lit from the ire of illogic and lack of sensitivity to their fellows, must find that wisdom within themselves to understand.

We can only hope that they will understand that this nigger on the cross of whom we speak, perhaps irreverently to some, but we think, maybe, not so, should one so view it with forgiveness in mind, this Jew who confounded the ruling order of his day and was pronounced by the mob and by the Temple as an heretic and sent to his death alongside two thieves, gave his life, they say, especially so that these, those dispossessed of spirit, of love, of companionship, of teaching, might find within themselves their own spirit of humanity, in common not with every idea or word which others may speak or write or worship, but at base of the same blood and bone and cartilage and flesh, pain and want, joy and sadness, loss and gain, of that of the other, those who, no doubt, though they may not have seen it or realized it, who nurtured and aided in the nurturing of them into this life-- maybe a nurse who was of a different economic or religious or ethnic or racial background who patted them in the nursery as they learned of the first things of day and night, maybe a doctor who helped pull them from the protective cling of the womb which nourished them for a few months into this outer place which was at first foreign and distressing and producing only of a struggle to gasp for something they knew not what, a struggle finally erupting in tears as the first pleading came ushering in initial independence from a little spank on their backsides, maybe a lawyer who wrote a will for their parents for them, maybe a school teacher who did not teach them directly but only from afar something which they acquired which enabled them to interpret marks on a page as words from a book they opened somewhere. Maybe a song they heard and liked and sung, maybe even in church or school, written by someone, someone of that different background from their own, which somehow they find so personally discourteous now to their being that they would seek to destroy.

Maybe they can see some of that and stop the burning hatred which is so useless.

Maybe they can. Maybe it is but the anomaly of young delinquency which, regardless of their chronology on the calendar, yet may be remedied in time.

We can only hope.

S. B. 121

The State Senate received yesterday from Senator Long a bill to require applicants for a marriage license to present a doctor's certificate that they are free from venereal disease. A good short title for this bill, SB 121, would be the Common Decency Bill, which would make it easy to reproach any solon who mustered the nerve to vote against it. No solon cares to be caught on the side against common decency.

For that matter, the chief argument in opposition to such a health measure approaches the indecent. It is that the counties of the state, especially the border counties, lose license revenue by requiring the pre-marital examination. This is equivalent to saying that the State and its subdivisions cannot afford not to license the marriage of syphilitics--at so much a throw. And that, messires, is equivalent to saying that no man in his senses would care to be caught saying--that for a few dollars the State will stand up as best man for a syphilitic and act as godfather to any syphilitic children that he may beget.

Row, Boys, Row!

There is one tax that no man objects to--a tax on the other man. Indeed, our whole tax creed may be summed up in the jingle:

Oh, Mr. Legislator, don't tax me!
Tax that fellow behind that tree!

In this good year 1939, the "fellow behind that tree" would appear to be the jobholder, Federal, state or municipal, who has been the mouse-quiet beneficiary of a reciprocal tax exemption. That is, the Federal Government has refrained from taxing the salaries of state a municipal employees, and state governments have refrained from taxing the salaries of Federal employees. Mr. Roosevelt pays a Federal income tax but no New York State tax on his $75,000 a year. Governor Hoey pays a North Carolina income tax but no Federal tax on his $10,500 salary.

But now the House Ways & Means Committee has given a favorable report on the bill to subject state and municipal salaries to Federal income taxes and to permit the states to do likewise. And the rest of us who may have been paying both taxes all along will be kind enough not to cheer, but secretly pleased. For it is written that he who lives by taxation shall perish by taxation, and also that everybody who is in the same boat must take his turn at the oars.

Not All The Way

The case of the seizure and flogging of the two Negroes who were being held in jail at Goldsboro on charges of beating up the Mayor, is brutal and disgraceful enough in all truth. And the story of the cop who tamely let only two men engineer the job hath the same shabby ring that such stories usually have. And somehow these cops who lose all their courage when faced with a gun in the hand of a man who is apt to break the law, are never able to recognize their assailants.

But for all that, there is a kind of comfort in the case. When we heard that the Negroes had been abducted, we expected nothing short of a lynching. But no lynching came off. Which suggests pointedly, it seems to us, that restraint operated in these near-lynchers in spite of themselves. Back in their minds, quite probably, was moving the dim thought that the thing they were about to do would bring disgrace upon their state and county and town and themselves. And back there was moving, too, perhaps, the memory of the vigorous action which Governors of the state, notably Bickett and Morrison, have sometimes taken against lynchers--the thought that after all they might get into serious trouble. Anyhow they didn't lynch, but stopped short with beating. Which, under any view of the case, clearly argues that, even in the sort of men who are willing to take the law into their own hands, a kind of hesitancy has been slowly developing.

A Gross Misrepresentation

The young men and women of the North Carolina Democratic Club in Washington are quite right when they pass resolutions denouncing the Washington Evening Star for having misrepresented Robert Rice Reynolds, or rather with having allowed their columnists, Joseph Alsop and Robert Kintor, of "The Capital Parade," to do so.

Before us lies the column in question. It charges that,

1--Robert is the most conspicuous example of the mountebank-statesman in our time. [We suspect that is right.]

2--That Robert campaigned in an old Ford and denounced Cam Morrison as a caviar-eating rich man. [That is fact.]

3--That North Carolina elected him for non-essential reasons. [We think that is true. Reasons like their dislike for his picture of Cam Morrison as a Tar Heel who had got too good to eat hen eggs.]

4--That he has stuck firmly to non-essentials since, such as his fight on aliens, who long ago ceased to come here in any numbers. [That can be documented.]

5--That he travels a lot. [His feet do itch.]

But then they go on to declare that he spends all his time eating, drinking, and playing ladies' man. Time was, certainly. But now it is simply a base libel. He hasn't kissed a movie actress this year. And Robert--we have it on Robert's own word that he no longer drinks. And if he eats at all these days, we can't understand when. For it is plain from the Congressional Record (at $60 a page) that the great man spends at least 23 hours a day making speeches on the Senate floor--about non-essentials.

A Dizzy Spectacle

What is actually going on in regard to Spain is a puzzler--the same sort of puzzler that the whole policy of Bumble, Daladier & Co. has been for the last several months. On the face of it, Britain and France have stepped in resolutely to detach Franco from his Italian and German masters, by promises to recognize him as the sole legal master of Spain and to persuade--i.e. force--the Spanish Government to surrender to him unconditionally and hand over Minorca. In return he is supposed to take out the Italian soldiers and let the British bankers have the financing of the new Fascist state.

On the face of it, that is an astoundingly cynical deal, for it ignores every right of the Spanish Government as international law has defined right in the past. And moreover, it wonderfully bears out the contention of Bumble's bitterest critics: that one of the chief explanations of his strange Spanish policies has been his will to secure a lion's share of the Spanish swag for England--or rather, for his banker clique. But we have seen Bumble behaving cynically before, and so there is nothing unbelievable about that.

And what about Lord Mussolini and Lord Hitler? Are they supposed to take this lying down, after having poured out Italian and German treasure and blood to enable Franco to win against the overwhelming will of the Spanish people--to let England and France run away with all the booty they have so hardly brought? And how does that fit with the whole policy of "appeasement"--with the fact that England and France have timidly been playing before the dictators to preserve "peace?" For isn't it plain that if this means what it appears to mean, it constitutes a terrific defiance of the dictators--and on such grounds it will certainly cost England and France the sympathy of the United States which they crave?

An Issue Evaded

Senator Glass's reply to the President leaves a great deal to be desired by those who have admired his clarity and candor in the past. That he has a case seems certain enough. The President has undoubtedly been actuated in the case of the appointment of a Federal judge in Virginia by the will to punish the two Senators, Glass and Byrd, for having opposed him, and if possible to demote them in prestige.

But for all that, the fact remains that Senator Glass nowhere admits the central fact at issue, that the power conferred on the Senate to "advise and consent" to nominations was certainly not intended to give the individual Senator the right to select judges and other officials in his state. On the contrary, at one place he seems to insist that the debate of the Constitutional Convention shows that it was intended that Senators should perpetually have the right to present the slate from which nominations must "in courtesy" be made. And if in the end he says that he is willing to accept any capable man who does not belong to the camp of "the Governor of Virginia or a bitterly hostile Congressman"--that only adds up to saying over what he has insisted all along: that the question of a man's political and personal acceptability and not only the question of fitness for the job, is properly a part of the Senator's concern under the "advise and consent" clause.

The contention fits neither with his ordinarily clear logic nor with his reputation for audacious candor.


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